The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri will file litigation in Kansas City to seek recognition of gay marriages by the State of Missouri. Press conferences will be held in Kansas City, Jefferson City, St. Louis and Springfield, where same-sex couples will speak out about their suit to be recognized.

Gay marriage has been in the spotlight in Missouri recently as eight Republican lawmakers try to impeach Gov. Jay Nixon because of his executive order requiring the Department of Revenue allow same-sex couples married legally in other states to file their Missouri taxes jointly. GOP legislators say Nixon is violating the constitution.

House Speaker Tim Jones is not heading up the effort to impeach Nixon, but is supportive of the legislation. The measure has not yet been assigned to a committee, the first step in the legislative process.

In the past year, the U.S. Supreme Court’s struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, which had prohibited federal recognition of same-sex marriage, and the Missouri Supreme Court has denied survivor benefits to same-sex couples.

Patrol Cpl. Dennis Engelhard was killed in the line of duty in 2009 when he was struck by a vehicle while investigating an accident on Interstate 44 in Eureka. Although he had listed his spouse, Kelly Glossip, as a beneficiary on his documents filed with the Highway Patrol, the state denied payment because they were not married. The ACLU sued the state on Glossip’s behalf, and lost.

Gay rights have also made headlines this week in Missouri as MU football player Michael Sam made the announcement that he was gay, the first player to come out as he begins his professional career.

While there have been other athletes who have come out about their sexuality, Sam is the first player to open up as he begins his quest to start a professional career.  If Sam were to make an NFL roster, he would become the first player to publicly announce that he is gay.

“I’m not naïve,” Sam said. “I know this is a huge deal and I know how important this is. But my role as of right now is to train for the combine and play in the NFL.”